Caught in a trap, but I can’t leave

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - Que Xu­jie

A 31-year-old res­i­dent of Jin­sha vil­lage in the Xiangxi Tu­jia and Miao au­tonomous pre­fec­ture.

Iam in a dilemma. I want to leave the vil­lage and earn more money in a big city like I did be­fore, but that’s not pos­si­ble. Last year, my foster fa­ther died and my sec­ond child was born. The sit­u­a­tion not only re­quired money, but as the el­dest child I had to han­dle all the ar­range­ments.

Luck­ily, when I re­turned to the vil­lage af­ter my spell as a mi­grant worker, I was given a job in the cured-meat fac­tory owned by Liao Yanfei, the head of our vil­lage. Ev­ery day, I take a 20-minute walk from home to the plant, where I cut meat. I earn 2,000 yuan ($ 290) a month. When we add in my wife’s in­come — she also works in the fac­tory — we have a to­tal of 3,000 yuan a month.

I should be grate­ful for the life we live now be­cause things have re­ally im­proved since my school­days when I only had 10 yuan a week, but with our low in­come it’s hard to al­le­vi­ate the eco­nomic bur­den.

My wife is un­able to breast­feed, so most of our monthly in­come is spent on milk pow­der for the baby, but my 10-year-old daugh­ter and my sick mother also need money.

I want to go to Wen­zhou, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, East China, where I worked be­fore and earned more money, but I don’t want to leave my chil­dren and mother on their own.

Relief from poverty has helped me to find a source of in­come at home, but the pres­sure, es­pe­cially the men­tal stress, re­mains and even grows. How I long to re­ally es­cape from poverty and give my fam­ily a bright fu­ture, but what I re­ally need is some­thing to pro­vide men­tal relief.

Que Xu­jie spoke with Cao Yin

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